Germans Discuss Hotel Building in Talks with ICHHTO

Germans Discuss Hotel Building in Talks with ICHHTOGermans Discuss Hotel Building in Talks with ICHHTO

A German parliamentary delegation led by the German Bundestag (parliament) Committee on Tourism Heike Brehmer held a meeting with the director of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) Masud Soltanifar on April 11 to discuss cooperation between the two countries, Iranian daily Donya-e-Eghtesad reported.

Soltanifar lauded the increasing number of foreign arrivals, and said, “We believe that the tourism industry will improve in Iran and we are prepared for the the massive influx of foreign tourists.”

According to Soltanifar, Iran is expected to see a substantial boost in the inflow of tourists in the second half of 2015, once a comprehensive nuclear deal is reached between Iran and the P5+1 on June 30.

  German Investment Welcome

In response to the inquiry from the German delegation regarding the possibility of investment in hotel construction projects, Soltanifar noted there is no legal obstacle to foreign investments, and asserted that the ICHHTO will help reduce the time taken to issue permits to three months.

He welcomed the possibility of German investment in Iran’s tourism industry, saying that mutual understanding is key to a successful venture.

“Iran has straightforward laws addressing foreign investment, which have been translated into various languages to avoid misunderstanding,” he stated.

Brehmer expressed her country’s eagerness to invest in Iran, adding, “Tourism brings people together and establishes rapport between nations.”

  Preparing for the Influx

To successfully host foreign visitors and cope with the inflow, the ICHHTO is taking measures to ensure tourists have a pleasant experience.

According to Soltanifar, long- and short- term courses are offered at universities to train experts in human resources. “The students will have sufficient command of different languages upon graduation, enabling them to the tourism industry and function effectively,” he added.

Students are being trained to cater to visitors from Germany, France, China, Italy, Russia, as well as Arab and Turkish-speaking tourists.

Despite the unfair sanctions, Iran has managed to attract tourists, he said, adding that 5 million tourists entered Iran every year since President Rouhani took office.

Soltanifar noted that Europeans and North Americans are captivated by Iran’s deserts, while visitors from neighboring countries enter Iran to receive medical care.

Developing the tourism industry is high on the Rouhani administration’s agenda; as such, it has made efforts to accelerate visa procedures for most countries while adding certain countries to Iran’s visa waiver program.

One major obstacle is the lodging situation, he said, expressing hope that with cooperation between the ICHHTO and the private sector, modern hotels and lodging facilities can be built to host visitors. The number and quality of roadside rest houses is low, requiring immediate action.

At the end of the meeting, Soltanifar expressed hope that the German delegation’s visit would “open a new chapter in relations between the two countries,” and called Iran and Germany to work in tandem to advance the tourism industry.